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TravelBaja California Sur: The ultimate road trip

01:25  26 july  2019
01:25  26 july  2019 Source:   nationalgeographic.com

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Doing a road trip through Baja California is a really fun and interesting option for either family travel or adventurous adults. A drive through northern Baja is all about the rugged coast and beautiful valleys, and a Baja California Sur road trip gives you picturesque towns and amazing snorkeling experiences.

The margarita-fueled party scene in Cabo San Lucas may claim the limelight, but the Mexican state of Baja California Sur has a wealth of natural and cultural treasures. On the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula, discover an often-wild desert landscape juxtaposed against brilliant blue waters teeming with life. Along the east coast, the Sea of Cortez—dubbed “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau—presents underwater adventures from snorkeling with the ocean’s largest fish to diving along a rejuvenated reef, a remarkable environmental success story. When you come up for air, take in sublime sunsets, taste traditional flavors at a taqueria, and track down secluded hot springs. The road less traveled awaits.

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Baja California Sur , officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur (English: Free and Sovereign State of South Lower California ), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City

Plan a trip to Baja California Sur and create a sightseeing itinerary for your Baja California Sur holiday. For the ultimate Baja experience, begin your vacation in the city of La Paz, the cosmopolitan heart of this northwestern Mexican region.

Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip© Photograph by Ben Horton, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION

Balandra Beach, a short drive from La Paz, is a serene spot for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip© Map by GUILLERMO TRAPIELLO

Click the image to enlarge the map of Baja California Sur.

Stop 1: Start with art

Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip© Photograph by TIM FITZHARRIS, MINDEN PICTURES The striking El Arco rock formation, near Cabo San Lucas, is at the tip of the peninsula, appropriately named Land’s End.

Less than 10 miles from Los Cabos International Airport, San José del Cabo lies at the south end of Baja California Sur near the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. The quieter, not-so-crazy sister city to Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo is known for Spanish colonial architecture, the massive circa-1730 mission cathedral, and the gallery-filled Art District. The city’s convivial Art Walk is held every Thursday evening from November through June, when the weather is practically perfect every day.

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Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip© Photograph by ANNE FARRAR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION Blue-striped snappers swim in a school at Isla Espíritu Santo.

Stop 2: Birds of a feather

Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip© Photograph by JOHN & LISA MERRIL, GETTY IMAGES Pottery for sale hangs in Todos Santos.

Just to the south, find the San José del Cabo Estuary wildlife preserve. This peaceful place where the Río San José meets the ocean draws some 200 species of resident and migratory birds including wood storks, pelicans, egrets, herons, ibises, and hawks. Grab your camera or your binoculars, and rent a kayak for a paddle around the coastal lagoon. Or hoof it along the well-marked hiking path. (Discover what Baja California is doing to save its fishing communities.)

Stop 3: Living large

Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip© Photograph by ANNE FARRAR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION

La Paz’s Costa Baja Resort and Spa staff can arrange snorkeling expeditions with whale sharks.

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As promised, we have Baja California road trip tips. We spent five weeks with our van in Baja California and Baja California Sur seeing striking deserts and underwater aquariums. When crossing into Baja California Sur , no one asked to see our passports or tourist cards.

Take a road trip along California ’s premier mountain range, the Sierra Nevada—the dramatic granite backbone defining the state’s eastern edge. The region’s classic drive along Highway One, linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, visits Big Sur , Hearst Castle, wine country, and kick-back surf towns.

A short drive southwest reveals one of the latest luxury resorts to spring up along the lively oceanfront corridor that stretches from San José del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas. At the Montage Los Cabos resort, edging Santa María Bay, head to the spa—40,000 square feet of bliss—for treatments such as the Baja Desert Cocoon, which harnesses the healthful properties of sage and agave. Then indulge in new takes on traditional fare at Mezcal restaurant before settling into an ocean-view suite.

Stop 4: Beyond the bash

Yes, Cabo San Lucas has a well-deserved reputation as a raucous party town. But it’s easy to ditch the drinking games for outdoor pursuits like parasailing, surfing, and (in winter) whale-watching. Whatever the time of year, don’t miss the striking El Arco rock formation at the tip of the peninsula, appropriately named Land’s End. Now you’ve earned that margarita at rocker Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina.

Stop 5: Surf’s up

As you motor north along the Pacific Coast, the setting morphs from bustling to bucolic, giving a sense of local life in Baja California Sur. In El Pescadero, the annual Chili and Strawberry Festival, held in March, celebrates the crops grown here. Surfing is popular, with great breaks at Los Cerritos and San Pedrito. Bring a board to hang ten all day, or take a lesson at the Pescadero Surf Camp (boards provided), which offers overnight accommodations ranging from campsites to casitas.

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October 2016. Fun few days road tripping through the beautiful Baja California Sur , Mexico, swimming with sea lions and whale shark in company of some

When wild camping in Baja California please make sure to not litter and take your garbage out. Yes, there are already some trashed areas but that In my opinion Loreto has a perfect central location for a lot of adventures in Baja California Sur and there is a lot of desert and beach to explore within

Stop 6: Charmed, I’m sure

Farther up the western coast lies Todos Santos, designated by the Mexican government as one of the country’s Pueblos Mágicos, or magic towns, for its distinctive culture, history, and beauty. Check in to the 11-room Hotel California, not the inspiration for the famous Eagles tune but still a storied destination. Opened in 1950 by a Chinese immigrant who changed his name to Don Antonio Tabasco, the hotel was the first place in town to have ice, and thus cold beer, making it a local hot spot. Explore the galleries and shops of Todos Santos, and end your day at the beach, where sunset brings brilliant hues and, if you’re lucky, dolphin sightings.

Stop 7: Capital romps

Cross the peninsula to laid-back La Paz, the state capital and the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, with its seemingly endless water-focused adventures. Stay for a few days at Costa Baja Resort and Spa, and ask the concierge to arrange a snorkel with whale sharks, gentle giants that can reach 32 feet or more in length. Other options? Scuba diving with hammerhead sharks, moray eels, and sea lions at Isla Espíritu Santo or stand-up paddle boarding at secluded beaches such as Balandra. In town take a stroll along the famed, and newly renovated, Malecón promenade before tucking into tacos at El Sabroso.

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Baja California is, without doubt, a paradise just waiting to be explored. From taco and wine tasting to multi-day kayaking trips and epic helicopter rides, you won’t be short of adventure. Here are 10 tours you must try out during your road trip through Baja California .

Baja California Sur is home to the Reserva de la Biósfera El Vizcaíno, Latin America's largest protected Whale Watching in Baja California Sur . From the end of December through March You can visit the nearby islands of Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida as a day trip from La Paz, where

Stop 8: Reel it in

Head south to the remote Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise, overlooking the sea. At this resort, famed for its quiet allure and world-class sportfishing, expect to bag marlin, sailfish, or dorado—with the help of experienced guides—and then dine on your catch that evening.

Stop 9: Breeze please

Windsurfing and kitesurfing rule the waters 10 miles down the east coast at Los Barriles. Gear up at Vela Baja Adventure Sports, ExotiKite Kiteboarding, or Kiteboarding Baja School, which gives helpful tips on how to skim over the waves like a pro.

Stop 10: Finding the source

In the hills surrounding Santiago, embark on a treasure hunt along dirt roads to discover hidden hot springs. The El Chorro springs are easiest to reach, while the Santa Rita prove more challenging. Look for Cañón La Zorra (Fox Canyon) waterfall. Locals can help point the way.

Stop 11: The life aquatic

The big attraction near the tiny town of Cabo Pulmo is the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. Established in 1995, the 17,570-acre protected zone—part of a UNESCO World Heritage site—has revitalized sea life along a coral reef thought to be 20,000 years old. Suit up and dive down to meet groupers, turtles, eels, snappers, and sharks. (Where to get up close with wildlife in Magdalena Bay.)

This story was published in the February/March 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.
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